I recall waiting at the red light. The driver next to me had leaned out of his window to give me that suggestion. Or was it advice? Or a joke? He smiled and I smiled and then he made his turn, merging his car into the traffic.
The light turned green and I bicycled across the intersection, still smiling. Fasten your seatbelt, the car guy says to the bike guy. Right. Road humor. (Once, before walking my dog chewed into my exercise time, I oft pedaled the roads of Fresno.)
The driver’s comment was more a joke, but I probably filed it in the advice category because I had recently given my sage advice to another person sharing the road of life and skinny tires with me.
Now, let me preface these next comments by objectively stating that what I provided—free of charge—was excellent advice. Was my advice uninvited? OK, no one had asked to hear my opinion. Am I a qualified expert in the subject? OK, I wouldn’t even be considered an amateur.
Jesus was not a cardiologist. And yet, I would guess that many modern cardiologists, along with the majority of people, would agree with this long-ago statement from Matthew 6:21:
For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.
Did Jesus really say it? The Jesus Seminar scholars, a loose-knit group of academics that have rigorously examined Jesus’ words in the Gospels (and who challenge readers to realize some of Jesus’ statements may have been “invented” by the Gospel writers), had mixed reactions to this verse.
A version of these verses also appears in Luke 12:33-34 and the Gospel of Thomas 76:3. Did Jesus say it? There’s no doubt that scholars can debate its veracity. But I believe the statement; those brief words can rattle and rekindle my faith.
I recall when a friend called to tell me he was scheduled for a procedure in the near future. An angiogram. There might be more if blockage was found, including a stent placed in one or more of his arteries. He and his cardiologist had been monitoring some cardiac aberrations and it was past time to take a closer look.
In Mel Brooks’ 1981 film History of the World-Part 1, Moses strides down the mountain with three stone tablets.
“God gave us fifteen—”
Oops! Moses (played of course by Brooks) dropped one. It shattered. Hmmm?
“God gives us ten commandments.”
Charlton Heston, surely closer to Moses’ appearance than Mel Brooks, witnessed the commandments being created, word-by-word, phrase-by-phrase. A holy fire blazed and cut each rock-bound letter. How many people are more familiar with Cecille B. DeMille’s 1956 The Ten Commandments than the Bible’s top ten list? I mean, isn’t DeMille’s film really a documentary?
Long ago, at my regional United Methodist annual conference, with a thousand clergy and laity in a tense debate over the values of faith, a young pastor stood and declared that all churches should have the Ten Commandments visibly posted in the sanctuary. Every parishioner, every Sunday, would be reminded of God’s laws.
With loudspeakers amplifying his voice, he declared, “It should be exactly as the Bible said!” Continue reading →